Foodies, listen up.

Is it really "all-you-can-eat" if you can’t take any home with you?

Well, if you’ve ever wondered why some buffets don’t offer to-go plates (let’s be honest, so have I), this story’s for you.

According to Marketplace writer Nancy Marshall-Genzer, there’s actually a lot that goes into buffet-style restaurants and probably the most important thing is determining the price per person. Because, the bottom line is, if the plates aren’t priced right, buffets could be losing money. And if there’s no profit, buffets could soon be a thing of the past.

We don’t want that to happen, now do we?

So, how do buffets come up with their prices?

Typically, buffet-style restaurants have a set price for the “all-you-can-eat” plates and that price is based on three things:

  1. How much each person will eat: Buffets usually assume each customer will consume around one pound of food.
  2. Average number of customers in a day
  3. Daily food cost

After doing the math in each category, the buffet will set a price per person who will dine in. But note, that’s dining in, not take out.

So, what if you make your own plate to-go? Can you get in trouble for that?

Can you get arrested for taking food home from an all-you-can-eat buffet in Georgia?

Well, not entirely.

Here’s what we know:

While restaurants can ban you from coming back and refuse to serve you, they can’t have Georgia law enforcement arrest you for doing this on the spot. However, they can press charges later on for stealing or theft by taking.

According to Georgia law:

“A person commits the offense of theft by taking when he unlawfully takes or, being in lawful possession thereof, unlawfully appropriates any property of another with the intention of depriving him of the property, regardless of the manner in which the property is taken or appropriated.”

So, if you thought you could take some home for tomorrow’s dinner, think again.

This story comes to GPB through a reporting partnership with the Macon Telegraph.

Tags: Georgia  Macon  law  restaurant